This is the place.
Have a great Election Night!
This is the place.
Have a great Election Night!
EXIT POLLS CLAIM OBAMA +15 IN PA… DEVELOPING
TOO CLOSE TO CALL AT CLOSE: FL, IN, OH…
MCCAIN KEEPING AZ… DEVELOPING…
When we got to our polling place at the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center this morning shortly after 10:00 A.M., Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin was just leaving, as was a TV news crew. We wished her well, and commented how beautiful her flowers and terracing work looked at her home. She was radiant today, and looked every part of what a winning Democrat should resemble. I think all of us will have a smile as wonderful as hers later this evening.
Inside James and I waited for less than 90 seconds to get a ballot, and vote. There were about 10 voting booths and while there was a number of people casting a ballot things were running smoothly. I was number 751, with about 2,300 voters in the ward. Be mindful that the actual vote number does not include the absentee ballots that had not yet been run through the machine. And it was only mid-morning. A poll official predicted at least a 75% turnout in the ward.
I was prepared for the long line, but I think absentee balloting really made the difference.
Then it was off on a walk to run errands in downtown Madison. On the way I stopped for the free cup of coffee that Starbucks was giving to voters. There I waited for several minutes before getting to the counter. One very lively lady laughed with another voter in line, saying that if the election was stolen this year like in 2000, there would be rioting in the streets. The voter she was talking with seemed good natured, but admitted voting for John McCain. I really did not care for the rioting comment, and so as I passed the McCain voter to leave, I told him that win or lose we are all Americans. He seemed glad to hear the sentiment, and wished me well.
James asked me the other night as we were watching the election coverage what FAUX News would do without having a Republican in the White House. I laughed. But then I started thinking how totally absurd their programming might become, based on what it already is. Will the blond bimbo’s ‘reporting’ the news hike their skirts or show even more cleavage? Will Sean Hannity glower even more at his guests, and even bare his teeth in more sinister smiles? Will they all go verablly postal 24/7 at Faux News in thier zeal to be ‘bat-shit crazy and unhinged’?
In this hour of GOP discontent, a split has occurred in the American right. It roughly looks like this: One group of conservative intellectuals–David Frum and David Brooks come to mind–has argued that the Republican Party is out of step with the country and unwilling to advocate an agenda for middle-class Americans. For its troubles, this faction has been attacked by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, who accuses Barack Obama of fomenting racism and lately seems to exist, along with his 20 million listeners, in his own universe. Limbaugh and his ilk (Andrew McCarthy and Mark Steyn on National Review’s The Corner, radio host Mark Levin, and others) think the Republicans have run a weak campaign, and need to exhibit more anger and aggression in their confrontations with Democrats and the media. (Signs of clique membership: adoring Sarah Palin; cursing McCain for not bringing up Jeremiah Wright.)
As the right’s main television outlet, Fox News’s role in this debate–which is certain to become more heated after Tuesday–will heavily influence conservatism’s next four years. And if my marathon watching session is any indication, Fox has chosen its side in the conservative civil war. Not so much partisan as simply angry, Fox looks to be cocooning itself: Boosting McCain’s policies and character has taken a backseat to chronicling the obsessions of right-wing talk radio and blogs. (This is the crucial difference between Fox and MSNBC, which is remarkably good at staying on Obama’s message.) To watch the channel in the final days of Decision 2008 is to enter a world where ACORN, media bias, Obama’s campaign financing, and Fox News itself are the central storylines of the election. Once the network of optimistic, flag-waving jingoism, Fox has become a beacon of sky-is-falling fury.
Does this surprise any of us? We all knew the reasons for his attempts to disenfranchise Wisconsin voters was to assist a fellow Republican.
After claiming for weeks that there was nothing partisan about his ambitious election season regimen of suing the Government Accountability Board and dispatching attorneys and special agents to polling places where high Democratic turnouts might reasonably be expected, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen comes out of the closet Tuesday night.
He’s co-hosting the “Wisconsin GOP Election Night Party” — where supporters of John McCain and Sarah Palin will toast their successes or drown their sorrows — at a Waukesha hotel.
Van Hollen, a McCain campaign co-chair, will be joined by other non-partisan good government activists like Republican congressmen Paul Ryan and Jim Sensenbrenner.
Even a fellow Republican frowns on the political actions of Van Hollen.
Ronald Michaelson, the former executive director of the Illinois Board of Elections who serves as a key member of the McCain-Palin campaign’s “Honest and Open Election Committee,” was asked by ProPublica reporter Chisun Lee whether he could name a single instance in which fake voter registrations lead to phony votes.
“Do we have a documented instance of voting fraud that resulted from a phony registration form?” asked Michaelson rhetorically. “No, I can’t cite one chapter and verse.”
He was also asked whether Republican campaigners — and, presumably, officials such as Van Hollen — have gone too far in stirring up fears about voter fraud. “Well, it doesn’t help,” admitted Michaelson. “It has captured the attention of a lot of people. Maybe it’s because there’s nothing else to talk about.”
As I picked the morning paper off the stoop this morning, and looked at the front page, I thought of what the banner headline will proclaim on Wednesday. Even though every newspaper is the first draft of history, we all know there is history, and then there is HISTORY. The 2008 election will produce one of those amazing historical nights that require parents to make sure their children witness and appreciate the event.
As a boy I recall numerous such occasions where my parents and family would gather to witness the events that would change the world. Being in my grandparent’s living room while Walter Cronkite reported on the first man walking on the moon in 1969 is a memory that I will never forget. My brother trying to convince me later that night outside that the dark shadows on the moon were actually the Americans did not seem right even to my 7 year-old brain. But that historic night, and the events that brought our family to be in my grandparents home, is now a memory that I much cherish.
A few years later on a summer night my parents finished some outdoor tasks and we settled into the living room to watch the only resignation of a President. By that time I was already interested in news, and had a good idea of the events that were unfolding. It was a solemn occasion I recall as we sat and watched the speech, and the analysis by the reporters. The next morning I recall vividly the sunshine that was streaming in through the southern window, laying square designs due to the window frame on the carpet where I sat, and watched as Gerald Ford took the oath of office.
These many years later those events still linger and I see them as very important points along the path to my lifetime of interest in the world, and national politics. The fact that my parents made sure I was there to witness history was no small thing. It made a lifetime impression.
It will be that way tonight, as the first African-American will be elected President of the United States. In homes across the country parents can insure that children see the next chapter of our unfolding national drama play out by making sure the video game is turned off, the dinner dishes completed early, and the cell phone left in another room. Our nation is about to take a step that has long been hoped for. Help your kids recall it as fondly as I remember my youth.
They will thank you someday.
If I am at home watching the states close polls, and a winner called for one candidate or another in those states, I can start doing the arithmetic for myself as to who is close to the magic number of 270, and the keys to the Oval Office. As such I think it silly to suggest that the TV networks would somehow pretend that they were not able to do the same math. In other words, when a winner is known, lets call the election.
And that seems to be the way the networks will proceed on Election Night. When a winner is known, the announcement will be made, regardless if other states are still voting.
That means it’s possible, if not altogether likely, that the presidential election could be called before polls close in the West. That happened once before, in 1980, when the election was famously called — and conceded — by 9 p.m. ET. But it’ll be the Internet, cable and the speed of news that will be the driving factor this time.
The networks all promise to take the time to project the race accurately, and and say they won’t make any predictions before their time. But executives say it would be foolish for them to sit on a projection if they’re sure, and it wouldn’t be fair to viewers.
“There’s no way to get around it,” CBS News senior vp Paul Friedman said. “If one man gets 270 electoral votes before the West Coast polls are closed, we’re not going to pretend (he doesn’t).”
Phil Alongi, who runs special events programing at NBC News, agrees.
“If you project a state and (the candidate) reaches the electoral vote, what are you going to do? Lie?” Alongi said. “We will project a state when we’re comfortable with the projection. If one of them hits the required 270, you have to report that, and you can’t hold back.”
The networks all have agreed not to call an individual state before the voting stops there. But an overall projection could come before folks in California, Nevada and Washington finish voting. Executives know it’s a fine line that they’ll be walking, and it goes beyond a strict up-and-down counting to 270.
“Suppose that one guy has 260 (electoral votes) and we have exit polls and other information indicating that he’s going to pick up the votes he needs,” Friedman said. “It becomes the delicate matter of telling the audience of what we think is going to happen without discouraging them to vote.”
CNN Washington bureau chief David Bohrman, who grew up on the West Coast, is acutely aware of the issue. But he said CNN can’t hold back. That doesn’t mean, however, that the networks won’t take pains to say that, even with an early victory, it’s important to vote. Friedman said there are plenty of House and Senate races and local issues that need to be decided regardless.
“We’re acutely aware of not wanting to be in the position of discouraging people from voting,” Friedman said. “But we’re not someone’s nanny. There are reasons to vote on the West Coast (even with the presidential race decided).”